The current research in food structure in Teagasc is aimed at:
- innovative uses of milk ingredients in formulated foods and beverages including functional foods, anti-obesity foods and infant formula.
- new technologies for milk component isolation
- the exploration of process innovations for enhancement/modification of functional properties of milk powders and milk components.
Two new facilities have been developed at the Food Research Centre, Moorepark.
- The National Food Imaging Centre (NFIC)
- The BioFunctional Food Engineering (BFE) facility.
The NFIC uses Teagasc’s existing expertise in food microstructure analysis. It supports the growing food research programme and provides a state-of the-art knowledge base to underpin future food research in Ireland. Food research and innovation relies extensively on an improved understanding of food microstructure in order to create the diversity of textures, reduced fat content without sacrificing quality, and create an appropriate medium/environment for the protection and delivery of biologically active constituents Advanced microscopic techniques based on Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM); Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope (CLSM); Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) provide unique insights into ingredient functionality and food formulation effects during processing and storage.
The BFE facility has a range of complementary unit processes for technological research on the stabilization of bioactive ingredients in food. Technology innovation from the BFE facilities will be key to ingredient delivery as well as texture modification and sensory enhancement. The centre offers new technologies and allows increased throughput of experimentation because of the scale and modular nature of the individual process units. BFE plays a key role in process innovation related to laboratory based bioactive discovery and links with further scale up via Moorepark Technology (MTL) in the course of industrial uptake.